The impact of online learning on academic labour processes

Larissa Bamberry, Ruth Ballardie

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The introduction of online learning in Australian Universities has been identified as a way to transform teaching and learning to improve profitability of the sector through labour saving processes that seamlessly integrate delivery, assessment and administrative processes while increasing cohort size. It has been linked to improved access to higher education for rural and remote students, students with family responsibilities and students from low socio-economic backgrounds (Kilpatrick & Bound 2003). However, there have also been suggestions that online learning results in the ‘Taylorisation’ of academic roles, with the ‘unbundling’ of tasks such as curriculum development, learning design, delivery and assessment and the separation of teaching and research roles into distinct career streams (Macfarlane 2011). Academic roles may be deskilled with the introduction of non-academic positions such as educational designers and learning coaches, and increased numbers of sessional staff responsible for marking and delivery. Online learning may be linked to work intensification and increased hours of consultation. To date there has been limited research on how online learning is impacting on academic workloads. Drawing on interviews with academics in online learning departments from two universities, in NSW and Victoria, this paper explores the impact of online learning on labour processes, academic skills, work intensification and career opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018
EventAssociation of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ): 2018 Annual Conference - Adelaide Law School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 07 Feb 201809 Feb 2018
Conference number: 32


ConferenceAssociation of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ)
Abbreviated titleJobs and Change in Uncertain Times
Internet address


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